2006 Midlands Regional Championships - Championship Section

8-Mar-2006

Twelve bands line up to do battle on Journey to the Centre of the Earth. So who will come out on tops in one of the most equally contested top sections sections in the entire country?


12th March
Adjudicator: Malcolm Brownbill and Roy Roe
Test Piece: Journey to the Centre of the Earth Peter Graham
Commences: After Second Section
Draw: 1.00pm

No photo? Please send a JPEG to: 
general@4barsrest.com stating the conductors name, your band, your region and section.
 


Nigel SeamanDesford Colliery
Conductor:
Nigel Seaman
4BR Ranking:25

Last Ten Years:
2005: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2004: 7th (P. Parkes)
2003: Winners (P. Parkes)
2002: Winners (P. Parkes)
2001: 3rd (P. Parkes)
2000: Winners (P. Parkes)
1999: 2nd
1998: Winners
1997: 3rd

The perennial favourites for the title here, the combination of Peter Parkes and Desford has proved to be one that is both enduring and successful. No longer together for hims to try and add to his almighty list of 30 area wins, Desford have opted to stay with Nigel Seaman who was so impressive with them at London last year where they came 7th. On their day they are still a formidable band and they have talented players all through the ranks. If they click then they should be up and around the podium places once more and a 13th title may well be on the cards.  


David StowellGUS
Conductor:
David Stowell
4BR Ranking:24

Last Ten Years:
2005: 4th (D. Stowell)
2004: Winners (D. Stowell)
2003: 11th (R. Gray)
2002: 2nd (B. Grant)
2001: Winners (F. Renton)
2000: 3rd (M. White)
1999: 5th
1998: 5th
1997: 8th

A return to one of the most evocative names in the brass band history books. GUS return, although to be fair they really never went away as they were Travelsphere up until a months ago. Another band that on their day can mix it with the very best and they have the players and the MD to do very well here again. 4th last year was a disappointment, as was their rather lack luster performance at Butlins where they came 6th. If they can just shed their natural conservatism and really go for it, then a qualification place or a 20th area title may well be theirs.  


John MainesJackfield Elcock Reisen
Conductor:
John Maines
4BR Ranking:Outside top 200

Last Ten Years:
2005: 4th in First Section (prom) (I. Viney)
2004: 4th (C. Lewis)
2003: 12th Championship Section (rel) (C. Lewis)
2002: 5th 1st Section (prom)
2001: 3rd 1st Section
2000: 10th 1st Section
1999: 16th 1st Section
1998: 3rd 1st Section
1997: 12th 1st Section

John Maines will lead Jackfield Elcock Reisen in their return to the top section and they may need every last bit of it if they are to make a mark here. Promoted on the back of two consecutive 4th places in the First Section the step up in class is a big one. Talented players in the ranks and we are sure they have worked their socks off, but it is a big ask of them to do more than take a few scalps, although 3rd place at Brass at the Guild Hall contest was a great pre regional boost.   


Dave LeaJaguar (Coventry)
Conductor:
Dave Lea
4BR Ranking:88

Last Ten Years:
2005: 3rd (D. Lea)
2004: 6th (D. Lea)
2003: 9th (D. Lea)
2002: 7th (D. Lea)
2001: 7th (D. Lea)
2000: 6th (D. Lea)
1999: 4th
1998: 8th
1997: 4th

One of the most consistent bands here at the Regionals in recent years and Dave Lea and his band really excelled themselves last year when they came 3rd and just missed out on a trip to London. Dave Lea is an excellent MD, and always prepares his troops well, and they are always a band to look out for at this contest. May find it hard to repeat last year's fine effort, but you never know and a top six place at least may be the least of their ambitions.    


Cliff ParkerLangley
Conductor:
Cliff Parker
4BR Ranking:Outside top 200

Last Ten Years:
2005: 5th in First Section (prom) (C. Parker)
2004: Winners (C. Parker)
2003: 6th in Second Section (prom) (M. Vause)
2002: Winners 2nd Section
2001: 15th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 17th 1st Section
1999: 19th 1st Section
1998: 4th 1st Section
1997: 13th 1st Section

Langley and their MD Cliff Parker will surely want to up their form here if they are to make any sort of mark on the contest. Last year they couldn't repeat the winning form of 2004 and had to be content with 5th place that guaranteed their promotion. That was great, but not so great was their outing at Brass at the Guild Hall where they propped up the table in 16th place. It could be hard work for them to do better here this weekend.  


Duncan BeckleyNewstead Welfare
Conductor:
Duncan Beckley
4BR Ranking:96 

Last Ten Years:
2005: 5th (D. Beckley)
2004: 8th (D. Beckley)
2003: 3rd (D. Beckley)
2002: 4th (D. Beckley)
2001: 11th (D. Beckley)
2000: 5th 1st Section (prom) (D. Beckley)
1999: 4th 1st Section
1998: 10th 1st Section
1997: Winners 2nd Section

Duncam Beckley continues to make excellent progress with Newstead and they came a well deserved 5th here last year. Hard work and a sensible approach seem to be the hallmarks of their performances and those virtues were clearly on show at Brass at the Guild Hall where they came in runners up against a very strong field of rivals. More of that and they could well be looking for another podium place or even better. 


Ransome 
Conductor:
Robert Wiffen
4BR Ranking:21

Last Ten Years:
2005: 6th (R. Gray)
2004: 4th (R. Gray)
2003: 2nd (B. Grant)
2002: 5th (R. Gray)
2001: 4th (R. Gray)
2000: 2nd (D. Broadbent)
1999: Winners
1998: 6th
1997: Winners

Ransome's had a very good 2005 apart from the result here when they fell away somewhat surprisingly to come 6th under Russell Gray. What this year then as they were pretty flat and average at Butlins in defence of their Mineworkers crown and could only come 4th, whilst they are without their talisman MD this weekend as he is in Blackpool with his other band. Nice to see Rob Wiffen back though and he should remind everyone of his talents once more. Getting Ransome back in a qualification place or even a 8th Regional title will be a fine weekends work if he does.    


Mike FowlesRatby Cooperative
Conductor:
Michael Fowles
4BR Ranking:139

Last Ten Years:
2005: 9th (M. Fowles)
2004: 5th (M. Fowles)
2003: 8th (K. Steward)
2002: 9th (K. Steward)
2001: 2nd 1st Section (prom) (K. Steward)
2000: Winners 1st Section (K. Steward)
1999: 10th (rel)
1998: 11th
1997: Winners 1st Section (prom)

The talented Michael Fowles returns once more with Ratby this year and they will surely be looking to improve on the 9th place they achieved last year. That was a drop of a few places from 2004, but in the meantime they have been progressing nicely both at home and abroad. Plenty of good players and an MD on excellent form at present, a top six place may be on the cards.   


Nigel BoddiceStaffordshire Band
Conductor:
Nigel Boddice
4BR Ranking:36 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 8th (S. Bastable)
2004: 2nd (S. Bastable)
2003: 6th (D. Maplestone) 
2002: Winners 1st Section (prom) (D. Maplestone)
2001: 6th (rel) (A. Culshaw)
2000: 11th (A. Culshaw)
1999: 9th
1998: 2nd
1997: 6th

This could be a real test for Staffordshire this year as it will be interesting to see how they cope without the mercurial talents of Steve Bastable in front of the band. The Pontins Champions are a very good band in the making, but last year they over indulged themselves in trying to make too much music out of a sparse score and paid the penalty. Nigel Boddice is a fine musician and will bring a level headed approach to curb any over enthusiasm. They will certainly challenge, but will they just have that spark about themselves to challenge strongly enough?    


Martin HeartfieldThoresby Colliery UK Coal
Conductor:
Martin Heartfield
4BR Ranking:79 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 7th (A. Duncan)
2004: 9th (J. Hudson)
2003: 5th (S. Lippeatt)
2002: 3rd (S. Lippeatt)
2001: 2nd (S. Lippeatt)
2000: 2nd 1st Section (prom) (S. Lippeatt)
1999: 11th (rel)
1998: 10th
1997: 7th

Martin Heartfield takes over the reins this year at Thoresby and he will be the fourth new face at the helm in as many years at the contest. The last couple of outings here haven't seen the band at their best and last year's 7th place under Andy Duncan wasn't all that inspiring. The new combination though got off to a good start at Butlins where they came 9th and showed a great deal of promise and style, so a return to the top six places at least could well be within their grasp once more.  


Peter ParkesWoolley Pritchard Sovereign Brass
Conductor:
Peter Parkes
4BR Ranking:53

Last Ten Years:
2004: Winners (T. Jones)
2004: 3rd (T. Jones)
2003: 4th (W. Ruston)
2002: 10th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 5th (D. Maplestone)
2000: 5th (S. Cooper)
1999: 7th
1998: 7th
1997: 8th

Last year's winners may have surprised many here with their victory, but they then went on to show everyone during the year that it was no fluke. A whole host of well controlled performances on the road was testament to good leadeship and some excellent players in the ranks. At London they came a well merited 12th as well and didn't sound out of place at all amongst the best bands in the land. This year they have captured the Major to lead them and w are sure that he will be determined to show them that it was the right decision. We think it will be too and a qualification place at least should be the least of their ambitions.  


Past Qualifiers:

2005: Woolley Pritchard Sovereign, Desford Colliery
2004: Travelsphere Holidays, Staffordshire
2003: Desford Colliery, Ransome
2002: Desford Colliery, Travelsphere Holidays
2001: Travelsphere Holidays, Thoresby Colliery
2000: Desford Colliery, NSK-RHP Ransome
1999: NSK-RHP Ransome, Desford Colliery
1998: Desford Colliery, Staffordshire Building Society
1997: NSK-RHP Ransome, Rhodian Brass
1996: Rigid Containers, Rhodian Brass, Desford Colliery*
1995: Desford Colliery, Rigid Containers
1994: William Davis Construction, Thoresby Colliery, Rigid Containers
*Pre Qualified


Midlands bands at London:

2005: 9th, 12th
2004: 6th, 13th
2003: 7th, 10th
2002: 8th, 16th
2001: 13th, 16th, 17th
2000: 2nd, 11th, 12th
1999: 4th, 20th
1998: 14th, 15th
1997: 9th, 14th
1996: 10th, 12th, 14th
1995: 3rd, 6th
1994: 9th, 20th


4BR Prediction:

The Midlands is usually one of the most closely fought over Regional Contests of the year, and this year should be no exception. All the bands seem to be well matched with no real outstanding favourite as there is in other areas. Anyone of the 11 here could win or realistically qualify, and that may also be due to the fact that these bands are also some of the most inconsistent outfits around too.

A whole handful of them can mix it with the very best bands in the land on their day and we say, on their day. At times they can sound very average indeed and the qualifiers will have to up their game come London if they are to really make an impression on the top six there. That is for another day though and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top this weekend.

We think it could well be a bit of a repeat of last year and we think the combination of Major Parkes and Woolley Pritchard Sovereign may well book their place once more, whilst Desford and GUS should be the two bands who squabble it out for the other qualification place on offer. Staffordshire and Ransome should have enough about them to make it into the top six as should Thoresby. Newstead Welfare are our dark horse. 

1. Woolley Pritchard Sovereign
2. Desford
3. GUS
4. Staffordshire
5. Ransome
6. Thoresby

Dark Horse: Newstead Welfare

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